Every Day

Every Day - David Levithan

A has no body. Instead, every day at midnight, A is transferred to a new body. The body can be any gender, race, size, sexuality, background, etc., but there are some things that are predictable. The body's age corresponds to the age A is. The body is always within the same state as the previous one. To make this life work, A has rules. Don't get attached to a host. Don't act out of character for the host. Don't let others realize A exists. But things change when A falls for the girlfriend, Rhiannon, of a host. Now, A wants something different out of life. A wants to be with her. Every day.

 

The premise of the book, while interesting, is also inherently creepy to me. To borrow the term from a character in the book, what A does is basically possession. It's not voluntary, which I understand, and it's the only way for A to exist, but the doesn't change the fact that it's a bit creepy. I think my sympathy is supposed to go toward A, which it does to an extent, but it goes far more toward the people A possesses. We see from some of A's hosts that  some of them do remember to certain extents not being in control of their body. One remembers to such an extent that he is convinced that the devil possessed him, which is just horrible. Another is seen being uncertain about his actions on the day he was possessed. Rhiannon, who knows about A's existence, is aware immediately upon waking that she has been possessed before seeing a note A wrote to her as proof.

 

Even worse than that knowledge/feeling of not being in control of own's body though is the damage A causes to the hosts' lives. Skipping school is common. A keeps one boy out past curfew, ultimately leaving him asleep on the side of the road to be woken by police with only faint memories of the previous day, causing the boy to doubt his sanity and become a laughingstock when he tries to tell people what happened to him. A forces another to miss a flight to Hawaii with his family to his sister's wedding, making the boy's father miss the flight as well and getting the boy into a huge amount of trouble. The last host we see A possess,

A intends to have drive as far away as possible, which will be great for her when she gets control of her body back. 

(show spoiler)

 

The romance of the story also comes off as creepy. We get lines from A right away about how A is the only one who sees the true Rhiannon despite knowing her for only a few hours at this point and knowing nothing about her life. A becomes a stalker right away, watching her at times without her awareness. A kisses Rhiannon despite her previous rebuff to A's advances. Rhiannon does eventually choose to pursue a relationship with A, but that doesn't excuse previous actions. However, I did really like Rhiannon's reactions to this relationship and the struggles she dealt with.

I also liked her eventual conclusion that this just wouldn't work. She may like A, but Rhiannon realized that the relationship that they'd have to have just wasn't want she wanted out of life. I am always here for realizations that sometimes love is not enough. I didn't like the ultimate conclusion though where A finds a host that A believes is perfect for Rhiannon, spends the day with her in the body (Rhiannon is aware that it's A in control), and then implants memories and feelings into the boy so that when he gets his body back, he'll be in love with her. That goes right back into the creepy factor.

(show spoiler)

 

I was a bit surprised at how judgmental A was at times, particularly for someone who has experienced so many different lives. Like with one girl A is in who puts a lot of effort into her appearance and wears make-up. A wants to shake her for caring about something that won’t last forever. I get tired of the repeated message I see that girls who wear make-up and care about their appearance are super shallow. Putting effort into one’s appearance does not automatically equal shallowness. It’s okay for girls to like make-up and spend time making themselves look pretty. If it makes them happy and doesn’t hurt anyone, what’s the problem? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to put energy into one’s appearance. There’s nothing wrong with a girl knowing she looks great, liking that, and putting energy into that. I want more portrayals of girls who are confident about their appearance.

 

Another character A is in is incredibly fat. When A describes the character, A says they must dig down really deep to find any trace of humanity. I think A was trying to say that the character just had no motivation at life or anything, but it just comes across as a very poor choice of words for getting that point across. A is also quick to assure Rhiannon that they are nothing like the fat person, even though A doesn’t actually have a physical body so there’s no way to say what A would ultimately look like. Once again, A may have been referring to the lack of motivation, but the whole thing just didn't come across very well.

 

I was more interested in the lives of several of A's hosts than A's actual story. We only saw glimpses of them, but some of those glimpses featured pretty cute relationships that the hosts were in that I enjoyed. Not every host's story was interesting, with some coming across as fairly random breaks in the story where the host didn't come across as very developed in any way.

 

Despite my complaints, I did enjoy the story. It was an interesting premise and utilized the potential of that premise by featuring a wide range of hosts, which was nice to see.